Erdogan, Kilicdaroglu rally supporters before Turkish election | Elections News

Incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal . challenger Kilicdaroglu gathered their supporters on the last day of the campaign ahead of Sunday’s decisive presidential election flow.

The two candidates are aiming to attract about 8 million voters who did not turn out to vote in the first round.

The first round of voting on May 14 saw Erdogan leading the opposition Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and Erdogan’s AK Party and its allies won a parliamentary majority in the initial vote.

Türkiye pay tribute to his conservative predecessor with a visit to Adnan Menderes’ mausoleum in Istanbul on Saturday, to rally his conservative base.

Menderes was tried and hanged a year after the military staged a coup in 1960 to return Turkey to a more secular path. Erdogan survived a coup attempt against his own government of Muslim origin in 2016.

“The era of coups and regimes is over,” the 69-year-old declared after laying a wreath in front of his teacher’s grave.

“I once again urge you to vote. Tomorrow is a special day for all of us.”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Erdogan speaks during an election campaign rally in Istanbul, Türkiye [Khalil Hamra/AP Photo]

In January, Mr. Erdogan told his followers that he wanted to continue the Menderes’ fight for religious rights and nationalist causes in the officially secular but overwhelmingly Muslim republic. 85 million people.

Türkiye beat Kilicdaroglu by almost 5 percentage points in the first round of voting.

But Erdogan’s failure to cross the 50% threshold made Türkiye Firstly ends on Sunday and emphasizes his support is dwindling. Erdogan, who has led the country for 20 years, is still seen as the leader. Recent opinion polls show a close race.

Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, reporting from Ankara, said Erdogan’s message had not changed significantly from the first round of the election.

“He is promising to make the next century the century of Türkiye. He told voters that he would continue the big project and strengthen the defense industry in the country. He promises a stronger and more assertive Türkiye on the international stage,” he said.

Kilicdarogluwho is leading an opposition coalition of conservatives, secular parties and nationalists, ended his campaign with a speech at the “Insurance Meeting” Family” in the capital, Ankara.

Kilicdaroglu has focused on more pressing issues as he tries to get ahead from behind. In an attempt to win over nationalist voters, the opposition challenger has promised to deport Syrian refugees.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition coalition, speaks during an indoor campaign event ‘Family Support Insurance Meeting’ in Ankara, Turkey [Cagla Gurdogan/Reuters]

“To attract the votes of the nationalists, Kilicdaroglu focused on anti-refugee sentiment in the country and he has promised to send millions of Syrian, Afghan and Pakistani refugees back to their countries. Right now, the opposition is trying to appeal to the nationalists,” said Al Jazeera’s Serdar.

On Friday, Kilicdaroglu used a late-night television interview to accuse Erdogan’s government of unjustly intercepting his mass text messages to voters.

“They are afraid of us,” said the 74-year-old former civil servant.

He repeated the same statement on Saturday.

“I can’t text reporters to announce our campaign. Telecom companies are preventing me from sending messages to journalists. I’m having a complete power outage. We can’t even hold an election in Türkiye. This man [Erdogan] he’s a coward, he’s a coward,” he said.

Observers argue that Turkey’s vote is not tampered with on election days – but it’s unfair because the odds against the opposition are already stacked.

“These are competitive but still limited elections,” Michael Georg Link, head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) election mission, said after the first round.

“The criminalization of certain political forces… has prevented political pluralism altogether and hindered the right of individuals to participate in elections,” Link said.

Erdogan’s consolidation of power has included an almost complete monopoly of the media by the government and its business allies.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) estimates that Erdogan’s airtime on state TV station TRT Haber is 60 times more than Kilicdaroglu’s in April.

“They took over all the institutions,” Kilicdaroglu said in his television interview.

Many issues have turned voters for or against Erdogan: In his first decade in power marked by strong economic growth and warm relations with Western powers, the second His career began with a corruption scandal and quickly led to a political crackdown and years of economic turmoil that were wiped out. lots of initial profits.

Another issue that has come to the fore in the run-up to the election is the state of the economy, growing alarm over the fate of the besieged Turkish lira and the stability of the country. banks in this country.

Erdogan has forced the central bank to stick to his unconventional theory that lower interest rates reduce inflation, but Turkey’s annual inflation rate hit 85% last year while the lira briefly in free fall.

Economists feel that Erdogan’s government will need to reverse course and sharply raise interest rates or stop supporting the lira if it is to avoid a full-blown crisis after the vote.


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